Health Ministry Self-Assessment Data Reveals Big Gaps To Bridge

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Health Ministry Self-Assessment Data Reveals Big Gaps To Bridge

| Updated: June 29, 2024 12:45

The Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) data reveals that about 80% of India’s public health facilities fall below the minimum standards for infrastructure, manpower, and equipment, The data was fed in through a digital tool developed by the Ministry of Health by 40,451 public health facilities, as self-assessment under the National Health Mission (NHM).

The National Health Mission covers district hospitals, sub-district hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres, and Ayushman Arogya Mandir (erstwhile sub-health centres). The number of such public health units is around two lakhs. The NHM covers 60% of the costs, with states covering the rest. The Centre bears 60% of the expenditure on public health facilities under the NHM, while the rest of the expenditure is borne by the state.

Out of those facilities that responded, only 8,089 scored 80% or higher for compliance, meaning only 20% of public health facilities meet the minimum benchmarks set by the government, such as essential standards for infrastructure, the number of doctors and nurses, drugs, and medical equipment. While 37.7% (15172) of those who participated in self-assessment scored between 50 to 80%, 42.3% ( 17,190) scored less than 50%.

The digital dashboard is an important initiative by the Ministry of Health. It will be useful for real-time monitoring and starting timely corrective measures to ensure maintaining required standards for better health care. The Ministry seeks to identify the gaps and fill them urgently. Starting with self-assessment, the ministry intends to conduct surprise inspections also towards their goal of making around one-third (70,000) of health institutions compliant with IPHS standards within the first 100 days of the new government.

Apart from IPHS, another important evaluation is the National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) which rates based on best practices followed such as availability of essential medicines, equipment, waste management, infection control practices, support services, and patient rights. It is being carried out physically at district hospitals, sub-district hospitals, community health centres, and primary health centers.

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